Halloween, the Celtic festival hits the planet!
Halloween’s origin is interesting. It stems from the Celtic celebration of Samhain marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the Celtic New Year. The belief was that during the nights of October 31st into November 1st the barrier between the realm of the spirits and the real world grew weak. Large fires were built by the Celts to drive these spirits away.
During the famine, the Irish who emigrated brought this custom with them and their descendants honoured them. In the 20th century masks, ‘trick or treat’ and pumpkins (replacing the Irish turnip) became part of that also.
The Irish are super story tellers and to this day many a story is told. I remember experiencing the tradition of sitting around a fire and grandparents with their friends telling ‘scary’ stories. There was always that person present who would frighten the group at the most tense time of a story. Screams were followed by nervous laughter. What is it about us, we love that thin line between fun and fear?
Halloween brings people together, it's a social event. Neighbours meet one another whether they have children or not, because don't forget someone needs to be at home for all those treats and sweets. We love to dress up and decorate our houses to share in this celebratory spirit.
As Halloween is all about the spirit world let’s go ‘deep’. Halloween is followed by Christmas, one could say darkness to light spiritually speaking. The gentle rays of light streaming from burning Halloween fires, spreading clarity of vision across its circumference lifting the veil of night time darkness. Could we say the light represents goodness? Kindness reaches out to those that can be seen within this light? It is a spiritual festival at its core is it not?
Developing this further perhaps this Halloween we could think about its foundational purpose. The concept of the existence of good and evil have been debated since the beginning of time and no doubt this debate will continue. But for this Halloween, why not be that shining light of kindness and joy, reach out to your neighbours if they are a little scared of firework sounds. Smile reassuringly at little children who may be frightened at the ever increasing dramatic masks and imagery within Halloween. It is a fun tradition and a community tradition, one in which much laughter can be had.
Yes it has its challenging side …...the balance of fun and fear. Self-regulation is required by some. But that is humanity. That is what makes us both the light and darkness we see around us. Focus on the fun, the orange lights and crisp autumnal winds. Focus on the drifting leaves falling down around you draping footpaths for your passage. Your fears? Recognise them and release them. Fun is ahead and laughter awaits. If all that fails, you know my advice: put the kettle on!
Take care and Happy Halloween,